My first pandemic year was spent watching a lot of television — partly because we were all isolating from each other, but also because I needed an unthinking escape from this dark reality we found ourselves in.
The second year of the pandemic is still grim, but we learned to adapt. In San Francisco, I spent $50 for a ticket to the drive-in to watch Mad Max: Fury Road. I hadn't seen this 2015 film before, and even though I had no one else in my car and there were no snacks for sale, the novelty of seeing a movie anywhere other than my own home made the ticket price worth it. (Helluva action film, too.)
Then, in that too-brief window between the arrival of vaccines and the arrival of the delta variant, returning to traditional movie theaters became possible. A friend and I loved Ryan Reynolds in Free Guy, which reminded me of cross between The Truman Show, Pleasantville, and Wreck-It Ralph. Despite being opening weekend, the theater in Boulder, Colorado, was practically deserted; the few other moviegoers were, like us, masked.
Two weeks later in that same theater was a different story when we attended the one-night-only RiffTrax Live: Hobgoblins. This time, the theater was half-full, and half of the patrons were not wearing masks. Even though seating was reserved, we shifted seats several times to stay as far away from others as possible. The anxiety of the situation made it hard
It was while I was in Boston a few months later that RiffTrax hosted the second of this year's live events, Amityville: The Evil Escapes. Being in a bigger city during the delta wave, I opted to skip this one, making it only the second RiffTrax Live event I've missed in the 11-year history of the series.
I nonetheless took my odds on a Monday afternoon matinée of Venom 2, a movie I can now say did not warrant risking a pandemic for. It reinforced that I made the right decision to miss Black Widow, Shang-Chi, The Eternals, and Spider-Man: No Way Home in theaters, though I have since caught Black Widow on Blu Ray from Redbox.
Still, I saw more movies in theaters in 2021 than I did in 2020. And I watched less television — but also more Star Trek than ever before. Between the end of Discovery's third season and the beginning of its fourth was the second season of Lower Decks and the debut of Prodigy. The continuous streak of Trek will continue into 2022 with the rest of Prodigy's first season, the premiere of Strange New Worlds, and the return of Picard. From drama to comedy, live action to animated, and new characters to old, there's something for every Trekkie.
We Trekkies have everything we need — but 'tis the season of giving, so let us return the favor to our favorite captain and ask: Jean-Luc, what do you want for Christmas?